Social media started as an entertainment tool and evolved to a powerful marketing tool. While serving its primary purpose of connecting people, social media also plays a major role in connecting marketers with customers. Social media marketing is on the rise, as this type of media gains importance in the industry and shows potential for further development. Investments in social advertising worldwide are forecast to nearly double in a two-year time span, going from around 16 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to nearly 31 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. The United States is, by far, the largest social media advertising market in the world, as more than 9.4 billion U.S. dollars were spent on social media ad in the country in 2015 alone.
Facebook, the leading social network in the world, is the most used social network for marketing proposes. The social network was also chosen by majority of the marketers as the single, most important social platform for their business. Twitter and LinkedIn were also popular amongst marketers, with respectively 79 percent and 71 percent of marketers affirming using these platforms. This preference for Facebook has a direct impact on the company’s total revenue and revenue per visit (RPV), considering advertising is the main source of revenue of the company. Facebook has the highest revenue and the highest RPV in the industry. For every visit on Facebook, the company amounts 1.25 U.S. dollars. Pinterest has the second highest RPV – 0.74 U.S. dollars.
Majority of the marketers see the success of social media as an important part of the overall marketing objectives of a company. Along with more traditional digital approaches and channels such as email marketing and content marketing, social networking marketing is considered one of the most effective digital marketing channels for customer retention in the U.S., a key objective of branding and marketing strategies. Marketers particularly turn to social media marketing to increase their audience engagement and brand awareness, as well as generating leads and sending traffic to the website. These are just a few of the leading social media marketing objectives. Global marketers also mentioned other benefits of using social media for marketing purposes such as providing marketplace insights, improving search ranking and improving sales.
Despite the rise of social media marketing, there are still challenges in measuring the results of this particular type of marketing investment. Thirty five percent of marketers are uncertain if they are able to measure the return of investment (ROI) of social media activities. This is also a concern amongst marketers in the U.S. Thirty eight percent of them stated not being able to see any return in the money spent in social media marketing, while just over half of them believe social media marketing is too time-consuming to manage.
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